Sunday Shorts – “Matthew, Waiting,” by A. C. Wise

I’ve mentioned Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse before, and since then, I’ve devoured the entire collection, which was edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. In a word, it’s great. It’s got a huge variety (there are many ways the world can end – a plague of bio-tech sleep, alien invaders, climate collapse and rising seas – and even a ghost apocalypse, which I’ll probably talk about another time), and the location of “Canada” doesn’t limit the book at all.

Quite the opposite. There are so many stories that could only be so better told in Canada, and these tales of the “after” are so freaking well done even before you consider the Canuck content that the inclusion of Canada is just the cherry on top. That I’ve actually been to many of the places mentioned in the stories? Awesome – it just adds another shiver to the spine.

I’ve never been to Prince Edward Island, though. The one time I was supposed to go there, weather ruined it (the ferry was canceled).

But I can tell you that after the end of the world, you’ll still want to read about Anne of Green Gables.


“Matthew, Waiting,” by A.C. Wise

I have a friend I’ve known and worked with for years. She, like me, worked the horror that was Christmas Retail every year and made it through more-or-less mentally unscathed. One year, her mall hired a guy with a whole bunch of musical instruments (read: noisemakers) that he would hand out to a bunch of bored and over-sugared kids, and then head lead them through making music (read: noise). This happened in front of her store, while she was working, and it was torture.

To this, my awesome friend walked to the front of the store and called out, “Needs more cowbell!”

Some people can take something awful and still have fun with it and think about it in a new way. A.C. Wise took an apocalypse and added Anne of Freaking Green Gables! Seriously! Like, this is someone who looks at the end of the world and thinks, Needs more Anne.

I want to be A.C. Wise’s friend. You should, too.

I don’t want to ruin any facet of this story, which is so clever and grounded in a psychology that is as devastating as it is realistic. Taking an iconic piece of Canadian culture and twisting it “just so” into this dark (and yet darkly moving) story was a small stroke of genius in an already solid anthology. It was by far my favourite, and has been the “selling point” I’ve been using with all my friends.

“Post-apocalyptic Canadian Fiction,” I say.

“Huh,” they say, interested, sure, but not sold yet.

“There’s a post-apocalyptic Anne of Green Gables story.”

“What? Really?” Their eyes widen and their fingertips shake, already wanting the book. “What’s the collection called again?”

Such a great story. Such a good anthology.

And poor, poor Matthew.


That’s it for this week. Until next week, keep it weird, and keep it short…


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